A very warm welcome indeed to you and thanks for dropping by. Despite appearances we are a Part M Organisation looking after the continued airworthiness of hot air balloons. If that is gobbly gook to you then we inspect them, carry out Airworthiness Reviews and generally try and keep everything as simple as possible. There that’s that done. In the meantime we’ve been having a ball and have been back out there flying and having a really good time. I did set me mind that I’d get some flying done this year and blow me down we certainly have been doing just that. We are now getting through the old lists of people we have promised to fly some going back longer than I care to admit. Trouble is that the best days seemed to end up being check flights, training flights and TRE flights or sorting my own ratings out so hands-on flying was never to the fore. That’s all changed now and we’ve even been hopping, something I must admit I’d missed probably because you can misbehave badly in a hopper as we managed to do at the Little and Large Meet. We’ve done a few Instructor flights ahead of the new EASA licence but as yet there is still no application form but we have it on good authority that things ae moving along. I’m pleased to say I have just renewed my licence ratings for another three year period but will probably not renew them again. The nonsense and costs of EASA is just too much so it will be back to fun-flying and instructor flights. Sad thing is that I will miss the check flights despite the alarm they occasionally cause (o: On a brighter note we had another great trip out to Germany and learnt a few ‘very interesting’ things about the airfield we were based at. More later.
On a sad note we learnt of the sad death of Johnnie Sanders, Peter Dowlen’s good friend and crewman. Our sympathies go out to Mary and Team Piggy. Stuff that should be up in the next few days is a report on the brilliant and somewhat unexpected BBM&L Inflation Day which clashed with the wedding of the year. Congratulations to Ian and Sharon Chadwick and we have put it all into one report as rusty balloons are one of his passions. It was a very fine event indeed. a couple of weeks ago we got to fly our long-suffering landlord and landlady along with an ambulance driver which made for a very safe flight. It was all merry England and a report will be up once we get the pics in and, just for good measure, we also managed to get Sasha the manager of the Black Horse and her boyfriend flown on a very slow wandering flight that went on for an hour and half if you include walking it back up a hill with the farmers’ kids aboard who greeted us with bags of crisps! Flying alongside us was Richard the Kipper from the Isle of Man who was luckier than us and plopped down after an hour in a large garden of a very friendly chap with a wooden horse. Other stuff coming up is a report on a bus trip to the model railway exhibition in Aylesbury, just to upset Pete Bish and when I get round to it a bit on getting back into ballooning plus a thing about the New Hudson we rebuilt a while back demonstrating just exactly why the British small bike industry went tiddly bum.
There is really nothing much going on in the back workshop as we have been doing too much flying so this last paragraph will probably morf into something else. In the workshop we have had a bit of a pick up on the work front but it is down on last year with even more people giving up flying but I have to say there is a bit of momentum picking up now and the Black Horse is getting a bit more lively and the Sackville Lodge lot have about three or four pilots under training. Let’s hope that all the EASA nonsense doesn’t put off those interested in getting into the sport. Rather reassuringly the rather lovely Jenni d’Alton announced that BBAc have pulled in 50 new members since Valentine’s Day. Good news, but it interesting that some of the names we always thought were members! EASA pressure? In the news there is fair bit on the possibility of changing the Regulations and a ‘Consultation’ by the CAA which is open to all. Please respond. No need to be rude. Please remember those that really deserve a rocket are a long way up and the stuff you write will be read by the more helpful general staff who are on our side. It isn’t an easy read to be honest but make up your own mind and try and respond to the questions without straying off topic. To give you some facts and suggested responses (apart from those provided in the Consultation by the CAA) there is an article ‘Talking to EASA April 2014 – The Experience according to Don’ which in conjunction with ‘Don Cameron – The dark art of Regulation and the Balloon Industry’ should be of help. Please let others know about this Consultation, it is important despite being primarily a ‘Risk Assessment Exercise’. Closing date is the end of July. Two front page piccies this time. Begrudgingly I have to admit that I like Kim Hull’s clever shot of a heavy landing in Italy and the picture of G-OOCH and others hanging around the Little and Large Meet courtesy of Sandi Mitchell. The one in the News is courtesy of James Taylor. Thankyou. Please feel free to have a wander round. For more information please check out the latest News 02.06.14 and the current articles which have just gone up. We trust you will find something of interest or that makes you laugh or better still both. Above all else take advantage of the weather and we hope you get some great flying in. All the best from Dotty, Jane, Alice, John and Chris.